|Newcastle host Leicester on Saturday in desperate need of picking up points.
The Magpies are third from bottom and their goal difference is the only thing keeping them from being at the foot of the table.
Rafael Benitez’s side has been woeful in front of goal recording just four goals this term. The team’s only points (two) have come in nil-nil draws. While the attack has been non-existent, the defence has propped up the team. Newcastle have given up just eight goals this season, which is the best total of any team in 12th place or lower.
Leicester are coming off of a win that took some pressure of off manager Claude Puel’s shoulders. The Foxes had lost two consecutive matches prior to their 3-1 victory over Huddersfield. The win may have come against the Premier League’s worst team, but it gave Puel a little bit of breathing room.
Midfielder James Maddison is Leicester’s rising star. The attacker has scored two goals in his last two matches. His performances are helping Leicester fans forget about former winger Riyad Mahrez. Maddison has been Leicester’s main creator and teams have labelled him as the most dangerous player in the Foxes’ XI. Maddison leads Leicester in goals with three while Jamie Vardy is behind him with two.
Puel’s problem has been defence as Leicester have conceded 10 goals. They are +1 in goals scored and playing against Newcastle, there is the chance to improve that goal difference. However, Newcastle haven’t conceded many strikes. Benitez has built a strong base despite the team being lacklustre in front of goal.
Newcastle average just 7.7 shots per game. It is the lowest number in the Premier League by a significant margin. In addition, Newcastle have the second worst possession rate per game (38.3) and do not hold onto the ball well. Finally, the Magpies have the second lowest pass accuracy rate (65.6). All three stats sum up just why Newcastle are bad and, on their way, back to the Championship.
Forward Joselu has tallied two of Newcastle’s four goals this term. Their other two goals have been recorded by defenders. All signs to another Leicester win.
Leicester have won five of their last six meetings with Newcastle. Saturday will continue that great run against the Magpies. Leicester’s previous two trips to Newcastle have seen over 2.5 goals per game. With Newcastle’s solid defence this game could be destined for fewer than 2.5 goals, however. Five of Leicester’s six games this season have seen three or more goals scored.
Could Leicester breakdown Newcastle’s defence better than other Premier League teams this term? It is a possibility.